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I noticed my washer wasn't get much water pressure so I took the screen off the hose and cleaned it and now the pressure is great. The problem now is every time I use my washer, halfway through filling the tub the water shuts off and I have to go out and prime the pressure switch.

This happens several times throughout doing just 1 load of laundry. It didn't do this before I cleaned out the screen on the washer hose. It doesn't do this with any other water usage in the house, just the washer.

What could be causing this?

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  • A washer uses a lot of water at a time. Do you find the same problem if filling a bathtub or letting water run in a sink?
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 15:06
  • Have you checked the air pressure of tank recently? If not enough air pressure the tank/water pressure will go up and down rapidly, maybe causing the switch to stop working.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 15:23

1 Answer 1

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You appear to have a well with a marginal refill rate (how fast water comes into the well) and insufficient storage (water in the well above the intake level) to meet the rapid/large water demand of the washer.

So, when the washer calls for a lot of water all at once, the well is being pumped down below the pump intake level, and then the pump shuts down (at least someone put that protection on it - otherwise it will pump dry and burn out.)

There are many possible solutions which depend on the details of your well.

Sometimes you can just set the intake deeper, if the well is deeper than where the intake is set. However, if you have a surface-mounted pump, there are limits to that approach - theoretical limit is ~32 feet, practical limit is more like 25-27 feet for sucking water up.

If there's space below, a submersible pump can be set lower in the well, since it only sucks from where it is, and pushes water up. You can of course drill further to make more space below, but that's very expensive, typically.

Then there's the "blended approach" of jet pumps, which I consider an inefficient holdover from the past when electric motors were not very reliable that should be replaced with a submersible in the current era. Since you only mention having to fuss with the pressure switch we'll hope that does not apply here.

You can put a flow-limiter (aka flow-restrictor) on the pump output to prevent the pump from overdrawing the well by limiting its rate of output. You can combine that approach with a larger, or additional, pressure tank so you have more stored pressurized water to draw from. If you just use more storage without a flow limiter you may see the pump trip off more often.

You could also put a flow limiter just on the line to the washer, if that's the only use that causes a problem, as described. That's a more sophisticated version of what your clogged screen was doing crudely. A possible stopgap that requires only changing controls, no plumbing, would to try doing the smallest load size your washer can do to see if that can be supported by the well as is.

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  • thank you for the help. I will print this and show it to my husband.
    – shelly
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 15:50

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